Review: United Polaris Lounge San Francisco

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This United Polaris Lounge San Francisco Review is from our recent visit prior to a Turkish Airlines Business Class flight. Generally we have low expectations when it comes to U.S. airport lounges; even AMEX Centurion lounges have become so crowded and unpleasant that we cancelled our AMEX Platinum cards and have no regrets. But the United Polaris lounge at SFO was a nice surprise, at least when we visited.

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United Polaris Lounge SFO Location, Access and Hours

The United Polaris Lounge at San Francisco International Airport is located near Gate G1, on the right hand side after passing through security. It's open daily from 6:30 am to 10:30 pm, with access available to passengers with a same day boarding pass for United Polaris business class or for long-haul international first class or business class on a Star Alliance airline.

The United Polaris Lounge SFO is located by Gate G1, after security

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We were swiftly checked in at the front desk by a friendly representative, who explained the lounge layout.

United Polaris Lounge SFO Reception

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United Polaris Lounge SFO Seating and Amenities

After reception, there are a few stairs to shower rooms and quiet zone seating on the ground floor.

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There's additional seating, as well as the bar, buffet, and table service dining upstairs, reached by the escalators. Just by the escalators is a sign proudly proclaiming the lounge's win as the best business class lounge in the world, as voted by travelers in the Skytrax awards in 2019.

United Polaris Lounge San Francisco: Best Business Class Lounge in the World, Skytrax World Airline Awards 2019
Escalator to Upstairs, United Polaris Lounge SFO

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Upstairs is an artful bookshelf display, followed by seating and the bar.

Bookshelf Decor on Upper Floor of the United Polaris Lounge SFO
Seating, United Polaris Lounge SFO Upper Floor
Lounge Seating
United Polaris Lounge SFO Bar
Decent Sauvignon Blanc, United Polaris Lounge, SFO
Seating, United Polaris Lounge SFO Upper Floor

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We appreciated that by nearly each booth-like seat there's a power outlet, perfect for recharging devices and getting work done while having a drink or bite to eat.

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We didn't need a shower in one of the shower suites on the first floor, but even the toilets on the second floor are individual toilet rooms, pleasant for privacy, even if you just need to brush your teeth. Sunday Riley, which focuses on sustainable, botanically based skincare, provides the hand wash and moisturizer.

Individual Bathroom, United Polaris Lounge SFO
Sunday Riley Hand Wash and Moisturizer

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United Polaris Lounge SFO Dining and Food

Also upstairs is a spacious buffet area, as well as sit down dining. In the middle is an island with fresh whole fruit, coffee, Damaan Freres tea, iced tea, and infused water.

Buffet, United Polaris Lounge SFO

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Since we weren't overly hungry and didn't want to have our face mask off for an extended period, we didn't try table service, but there was no wait for it during our visit. The friendly attendant suggested that it would take about 45 minutes, and mentioned that it's not possible to take dishes served there into the main lounge area. Here's the menu for both breakfast and lunch/dinner:

Sit Down Dining Menu at United Polaris Lounge, SFO
Dining Room Seating

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The main buffet area offers a full salad bar with grilled vegetables, sandwiches, assorted cheeses and desserts on one side:

Salad bar, United Polaris Lounge SFO
Tomatoes, Broccoli
Roasted vegetables, United Polaris Lounge SFO
Cold cuts, United Polaris Lounge SFO
Sandwiches, Wraps, United Polaris Lounge SFO
Cheeses, United Polaris Lounge SFO

The hot buffet offered a tasty “Mojo Marinated Chicken” dish which I sampled, while my husband and son particularly liked the Char Siu style pork. Given how little remained when I took my photos, it seems other guests also enjoyed the pork. I did see staff refill the dish soon afterwards.

Mojo Marinated Chicken, United Polaris Lounge SFO

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Vegetarian options included a pasta, as well as rice and roasted carrots.

Pasta, United Polaris Lounge SFO
Roasted Carrots, United Polaris Lounge SFO
Rice

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The Verdict

If you, like us, are tired of overcrowded airport lounges where you struggle to find a quiet place to sit, work and dine, the United Polaris Lounge at San Francisco could come as a pleasant surprise among U.S. business class lounges. While we didn't sample the sit down dining on this visit, even the buffet was quite good in terms of the vegetable and meat options we tried. We appreciated that the toilets are in individual rooms, and that there are also shower suites available.

If you've visited the United Polaris Lounge in SFO recently, what was your experience?

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